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21-year-old French striker Moussa Dembele became an instant crowd hero at Celtic Park last season and tentative bids for him of crazy amounts were rebuffed by the club in the January transfer window.
Whether he wants to stay or leave is now definitely open to question, Celtic having said recently that interested parties would have to pay £20million for his services, a fee seen as strangely low by some fans. Indeed, that amount would not be a problem for the big spending Marseille and the French giants are plotting to take the forward back to his homeland.
Chelsea and Arsenal are also interested in signing the 32-goal man and of course, have the money to do it. So with pictures of Dembele spending time in London having circulated, this has of course begun to worry the Celtic support a tad.
Dembele, of course, came to Celtic from London having risen to prominence in the Fulham team during the 2015/16 season, a period where he scored 17 goals in 46 games. If that doesn’t sound prolific to you, you’d be right! Also, scoring some of the goals he did in Scotland could well have been done by a decidedly average striker and so maybe the club are willing to take a huge profit on a player they feel they can replace.
That said, he is young, and has been improving year on year and proved his true worth with his performances in the Champions League last season. Including qualifiers, Dembele played 12 games in Europe’s top competition last time around and despite a poor performance from his team overall, he managed 5 goals, which marked him out as someone with proper talent.
Given the natural improvement, if his head is in the right place of course, Dembele could go on and monster the Scottish Premiership next season as well as lead the charge in the UCL and that’s not something you can necessarily achieve with a big bag of cash.
It would be more prudent for Celtic to keep hold of their influential striker, given the improvements made by Rangers to their squad over the summer. Despite the predictably bullish comments from people like Neil Lennon and Steven Whittaker, Rangers are the closest challengers this time around and by some way.
Now that the bulk of their signings have gelled, the performances they put in, to draw with Marseille and beat Watford were of a new level to what we witnessed last term and this will not be lost on Brendan Rodgers. Despite the previously huge gap, Celtic can do nothing about Rangers closing it from their end of the city but what they can do is keep hold of their best players in order to fend them off.